The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari has on Tuesday assured the embattled President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina that Nigeria and himself are firmly behind him in his stance of getting re-elected as the president of the development bank.
President Buhari gave this assurance while hosting Dr. Adesina who paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina said, “In 2015, when you were to be elected for the first term, I wrote to all African leaders, recommending you for the position.
“I didn’t say because you were a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Minister, and I belonged to the All Progressives Congress (APC), so I would withhold my support. I’ll remain consistent with you, because no one has faulted the step I took on behalf of Nigeria.”
The President then pledged Nigeria’s support with all other leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure that Dr. Adesina returns back to office for another five years of his second that will be built on the record of his impressive achievements during his first term.
The African Union had already endorsed the incumbent AfDB President as sole candidate for the continent, but some other stakeholders are trying to ensure that Dr Adesina is re-investigated on some allegations, thereby, rendering him ineligible to run for the exalted position.
Giving a background to what was happening in the bank, Dr Adesina, a former Nigerian Minister for Agriculture, said the 16 allegations leveled against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence, and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”
He also added that the Ethics Committee of the bank has already cleared him of all the allegations, and calls for fresh investigation by the United States of America, were against the rules.
He said, “My defense ran into 250 pages, and not a single line was faulted or questioned. The law says that report of the Ethics Committee should be transmitted to the Chairman of Governors of the bank.
“It was done, and the governors upheld the recommendations. That was the end of the matter, according to the rules. It was only if I was culpable that a fresh investigation could be launched. I was exonerated, and any other investigation would amount to bending the rules of the bank, to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.”
Dr. Adesina further said that the rationale behind the rancor against him was to smear his name, and that of the bank, adding that he was proud to be Nigerian, and thanked President Buhari for his unwavering support.
“You helped me to get elected in the first place, and you have supported me robustly all along, and the African Union unanimously endorsed my re-election” he declared.
While commiserating with President Buhari on the demise of his former Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, Dr. Adesina described Professor Ibrahim Gambari, new Chief of Staff as “a man of integrity, and of global standing.”